Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Last "Fat Leonard" Defendant

Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless (U.S. Navy file photo)

Published Sep 20, 2022 7:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

A U.S. Navy rear admiral who was arrested in connection with the Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) scandal in 2017 will no longer face charges, according to his counsel. 

Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless most recently served as the Navy's director of intelligence operations at the Pentagon, and he retired in 2016. But the charges stemmed from allegations related to an earlier period in his career, when then-Captain Loveless served as assistant chief of staff for intelligence for U.S. 7th Fleet - a role which put him in charge of assessing and counteracting foreign intelligence threats in the Western Pacific. 

In the charge sheet, prosecutors accused Loveless and eight other top 7th Fleet personnel of accepting bribes in the form of meals, entertainment, travel, hotel expenses, gifts, cash and "the services of prostitutes" from foreign defense contractor Leonard "Fat Leonard" Glenn Francis. In return, the prosecution claimed, these personnel helped Francis to gain access to Navy vessel movement information and to overcharge the Navy for port services like bunkering and provisioning. All told, the Navy estimates that Francis' Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) overbilled the U.S. government by about $36 million. 

Prosecutors also accused Loveless of making false statements to an NCIS special agent about whether he had ever received anything of value from Francis or whether anyone had ever paid for his hotel stays. 

Four of Loveless' co-defendants pleaded guilty to participating in this alleged scheme, and the other four - former U.S. Navy Captains David Newland, James Dolan and David Lausman and former Commander Mario Herrera - were convicted by a jury in June. However, the jury deadlocked on the carges against Loveless. 

While the court and federal prosecutors considered next steps, Francis - who was a key cooperating witness for the prosecution - fled home confinement and disappeared. Prosecutors filed to drop the charges against Loveless, and the judge dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning that Loveless cannot be tried again for the same allegations. 

The decision makes Rear Adm. Loveless the sole GDMA defendant for whom prosecutors did not secure a guilty plea or a conviction. Of the 33 other people charged in the case, 29 pleaded guilty and four were convicted.

“This is absolutely the correct result based on the complete lack of evidence of criminal wrongdoing presented during the four month long trial," said Loveless' attorney Tom O’Brien in a statement.